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 Winter/Spring 2014  

Important Links

FIRST ANNUAL BROKER MEETING

IMPORTANT NOTICE

  

The Maryland Real Estate Commissioners have requested that I schedule "Town Hall" meetings which are required to be attended by all brokers licensed in the State of Maryland.

 

This meeting is for ALL BROKERS, even if you have no licensees under your company. This meeting is FOR BROKERS ONLY. DO NOT send office managers, sales managers, associate brokers or branch office managers to this meeting.

 

In an attempt to accommodate everyone's schedules and locales, I have scheduled meetings across the state at various Community Colleges in the area. 

 

The meetings will be hosted by the Commissioners who will be active participants. This is an opportunity for you, as brokers, to obtain up-to-date information as to what is currently on the agenda of the Commission, the concerns and trends that the Commission is seeing, learn about the negative issues that we are experiencing with consumers, just to name a few. It will also be an opportunity for you to express your concerns and ask any questions of the Commissioners.

 

ALL MEETINGS ARE SCHEDULED FROM 10:00 A.M. TO 1:00 P.M. ALL ATTENDEES WILL RECEIVE THREE HOURS (3) OF CONTINUING EDUCATION CREDIT IN CATEGORY F (ELECTIVES).

 

You (Brokers) should have already received the notice from the Commission. You will need to pick which date and location you wish to attend. We will be keeping a list of those that have registered. When registering, we need your full name and your license registration number. Please do not attend if you have not registered as there are capacity restraints. There are over 15 dates and locations that have been selected to hold these meetings so EVERY broker has an opportunity to attend. You need to REGISTER AT LEAST THREE DAYS PRIOR to the date you wish to attend. A confirmation will be sent. You will need your confirmation for admittance. This meeting is for ALL BROKERS even if you have no licensees under your company. This meeting is FOR BROKERS ONLY. REMEMBER, YOU MUST REGISTER TO ATTEND A SPECIFIC LOCATION.

 

My staff has already been overwhelmed with phone calls, emails and faxes regarding confirmations. We are processing over 4,300 brokers' responses. You will receive an email response as quickly as we can process your confirmation. Sending additional emails and faxes, or making additional phone calls to us will only slow us down.

 

I thank you for your attention and cooperation and the Commissioners look forward to seeing you at one of the meetings.

 

Kathie Connelly

Executive Director  

 

 speaker

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PAT HANNON: A TRUSTED COLLEAGUE RETIRES
by Kathie Connelly


It is with mixed emotions that I announce the retirement of one of the Real Estate Commission's finest and longest serving employees. After 33 years of service to the real estate industry, Patricia Hannon, better known to her colleagues and Maryland education directors as Pat, has decided to take some time to herself to pursue other interests.

 

Pat was the Real Estate Commission's Assistant Director when I was hired as the Executive Director in April of 2006. She was invaluable to me as I adapted to public employment and learned my new job. She was fluent in Title 17, the Real Estate Brokers Act, and the related COMAR regulations. She also had a thorough knowledge of the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, which is the umbrella agency where the Real Estate Commission is housed. Pat made my transition from private industry to public service as smooth as possible.

 

As the Commission became special funded in FY2007, we were able to expand our staff and Pat focused her energies on the position of Education Administrator. In that capacity, Pat devoted the majority of her time to ensuring that real estate schools were compliant with Maryland laws and regulations. She made sure that the schools were providing approved continuing education classes and with appropriate content and effective instructors. Under Pat's leadership, education in the real estate industry moved to a higher level. She was also required to review and approve all out-of-state licensees who applied to sit for the Maryland real estate license examination. Although we didn't keep count, I am confident that Pat handled thousands of these requests. Similarly, we called on Pat to take the lead in implementing the license Reciprocity Agreement that we have with Pennsylvania.

 

In addition to the education and out-of-state license duties, Pat also was the Commission's Board Secretary. She scheduled all of the Commission meetings, took the minutes every month and assisted me in making sure that Commission's meeting agenda was complete. Pat also took care of posting the approved meeting minutes to the Commission's website and updated the Maryland Register.

 

To say that Pat will be missed is an understatement. All of us at the Commission would love to continue working with Pat. On the other hand, we are so excited that Pat will have the opportunity to explore all her interests. Pat is active in a number of charitable organizations and donates much of her time to help those less fortunate.

 

All we have left to say to Pat is THANK YOU. It has been a real pleasure working with you. We will miss you. Best wishes from all of us at the Real Estate Commission.

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MREC CRACKS DOWN ON UNLAWFUL ADVERTISING
  
For the past seven years, the Maryland Real Estate Commission (MREC) has routinely handled complaints about real estate advertising outside of the formal complaint system. Our policy has been to contact brokers about licensees' misleading advertising, and to educate, rather than immediately sanction, licensees who produce unlawful sales materials. We also try to get the word out through our speaking engagements, public meetings, news articles and other means. If you attended the last MAR Conference & Expo in Ocean City, you would have seen our booth, which was focused entirely on how to produce signs, email blasts, social media posts and business cards so that they comply with the law.

However, the Commissioners and staff of the MREC have been monitoring a rash of non-compliant advertising that continues to remain in use, even after our multiple attempts to contact licensees about correcting it. So, after deliberating on the subject for many months, the Commission has decided to change MREC policy. Please note: If you are contacted by the MREC about your use of unlawful advertising materials, you risk having enforcement action being taken against you if you do not take timely action to change your materials. We will no longer tolerate advertising in Maryland that violates the law, regardless if the violation is a first-time offense or a continuous abuse of the law. Licensees who do not take corrective measures after being notified by the MREC via telephone call or email will have a complaint opened by the Commission, which could lead to the filing of formal charges. If charges are filed against you, you may be subject to fines up to $5000 per violation, and suspension or revocation of your license(s).

Most of the violations we see are the result of advertising by teams and groups that don't contain a clear designation of their affiliated brokerage. Please see the article, "MREC Focuses on Advertising at Conference," in the last issue of The Commission Check. It contains a summary of what your advertising design obligations are under Maryland law. No amount of branding guidelines issued to you by national franchises of brokerages supersedes our law, so it pays to be well-versed in what Maryland law contains.

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MANAGE YOUR LICENSE ONLINE

 

Image courtesy of adamr/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Are you taking full advantage of the MREC's website to help you keep your license in good standing? If you haven't checked it lately, our website has links to portals where you can monitor and make changes to your own licensing information so there are no surprises when it comes time for you to renew.

You can easily monitor the continuing education (CE) you've accrued during your license term by checking the Commission's CE banking database. It's important to verify that your CE activities have been uploaded correctly by providers, so that you have ample time to contact them if any corrections need to be made. Use your current electronic licensing user identification and password to access your CE record.

When you need to notify us of a name or address change, an alteration in the status of your license, or when you've transferred to another broker, you can easily enter that information yourself into the MREC's status change area of the website. It's easy, your information is secure, and the changes take effect immediately.

Helpful hint: Save these links to your desktop so you can easily access them when you need them.

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CONGRATULATIONS, LICENSEES!

  

The Maryland Real Estate Commission recognizes the following individuals for successfully completing their continuing education requirements at the time of their most recent renewal. These licensees were up for renewal beginning January 1, 2014, and each one passed his or her CE audit:

Patricia Lawlor
Tracy Masciantonio
Jeanette Williams
Nicholas Schiaffino
Florence Mallory
Pamela Drummond
Lenita Posin
Patricia Stone
Diane Patronas
Antonia Spaith
Alice Cheng

Congratulations!

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STAY TUNED!

 

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Image courtesy of

Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In an effort to extend our outreach to both Maryland consumers and to licensees, the Commission has initiated the production of a series of videos to cover various topics relating to the practice of real estate. We have partnered with Towson University's Center for Professional Studies to create the spots, and hope to start filming as early as June or July of this year. We will make the videos available on YouTube and through other outlets, and we plan to cover topics such as open houses, advertising, agency and supervision. We'll let you know as soon as they're ready for viewing!

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COMMISSION CHANGES

At the March 24, 2014 meeting of the MREC, Commissioners and staff bid farewell to two of our consumer members, Colette Youngblood and Jeff Thaler. Both Commissioners did an exemplary job in their service to the MREC and to the Maryland consumers who benefited greatly by their representation on the Commission. Ms. Youngblood chose to step down in May 2012, but stayed on the Commission for almost two additional years until her replacement was found and approved by the Governor. Mr. Thaler left the Commission to run for public office, because State ethics law prevents him from remaining on the Commission.

Beginning with the April meeting of the Commission, two new consumer members will begin their terms of service. Karen Baker, a retired registered nurse and owner of a private regulatory consulting business, joins us from Frederick, Maryland. Liliana Robeson, founder and chair of a nonprofit organization for the advancement of the Hispanic community, is from Hagerstown Maryland.

We would like to thank Ms. Youngblood and Mr. Thaler for their dedicated service, and also to welcome Ms. Baker and Ms. Robeson to the Maryland Real Estate Commission.

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UPCOMING COMMISSION MEETINGS

The Maryland Real Estate Commission holds regular meetings that are open to the public. The meetings begin at 10:30 a.m. and are located at the offices of the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing, Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. The address is 500 North Calvert Street, 3rd Floor Conference Room, Baltimore, Maryland 21202. Please contact the Division at 410-230-6200 or op@dllr.state.md.us for additional information.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Wednesday, May 21, 2014


Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Wednesday, December 17, 2014 

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DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS TAKEN BY THE MREC
  
70-RE-2014, et al. Hollis T. Brown agreed to a Consent Order for violating 17-322(b)(22) of the Business Occupations and Professions Article, Annotated Code of Maryland. Section 17-322(b) provides that:

(b)   Subject to the hearing provisions of 17-324 of this subtitle, the Commission may deny a license to any applicant, reprimand any licensee, or suspend or revoke a license if the applicant or licensee:
(22)   fails to account for or to remit promptly any money that comes into the possession of the licensee but belongs to another person;

Brown entered the Consent Order before administrative charges were issued by the Commission for his failure to promptly account for or to remit money that he received in his capacity as a property manager through H. T. Brown Real Estate, Inc. in Laurel, Maryland.

In the Consent Order dated September 24, 2013, Brown was ordered to surrender his Maryland broker's license and all other licenses issued to him by the Commission within seven days. He was prohibited from renewing or reinstating any of his previously issued licenses at any time in the future, and became permanently ineligible to apply for a new license to engage in real estate brokerage services in the State. Further, as part of the Order, he agreed to abstain from contesting or participating in hearings arising from claims filed against the Commission's Guaranty Fund by claimants who were affected by his violation of 17-322(b)(22). To date, the Commission has received 111 claims against the Guaranty Fund, with an anticipated claims payout of $583,731.24.

To read a list of other disciplinary actions taken by the Commission, please see the summary on our website. Each entry contains the date the action was closed, the name of the respondent, a quick summary of the outcome, and the full text of the Order in PDF format. 

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DIVISION PERSONNEL

Michael Vorgetts,
Acting Commissioner, Occupational and Professional Licensing

Janet Morgan,
Outreach Coordinator

COMMISSIONERS

John Nicholas D'Ambrosia,
Chair, Industry Member, Charles County

Anne S. Cooke,
Vice Chair, Industry Member, Howard County

 

Karen Baker,
Consumer Member, Frederick County

 

Marla S. Johnson,
Industry Member, Frederick County

 
William J. Neary, Jr.,
Industry Member, Talbot County  

Robin L. Pirtle,
Consumer Member, Montgomery County
 
Liliana Robeson,
Consumer Member, Washington County
  
Georgiana S. Tyler,
Industry Member, Baltimore City

MREC STAFF

Katherine F. Connelly,
Executive Director

Steven Long,
Assistant Executive Director 

Patricia Hannon, Education Administrator

Diane Carson, Investigator


Charlene Faison,
Licensing Supervisor

Jennifer Grimes, Investigator

Celestine Hall, Reception/Education

Robert A. Hall, Investigator

Brenda Iman, Paralegal

Darchelle Lanteon, Licensing

Dawn Mazzaferro, Secretary

Jack Mull, Investigator

Patrick Richardson, Auditor

Lucinda Rezek Sands, Paralegal

John West, Complaint Intake Administrator

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Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation / Maryland Real Estate Commission
500 N. Calvert Street / Baltimore, MD 21202


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